November 12, 2015 / 4:44 AM / 4 years ago

METALS-Copper holds near 6-yr low as weak China keeps up pressure

(Updates prices)

SINGAPORE/MANILA, Nov 12 (Reuters) - Copper prices fell for a fifth session out of six on Thursday, holding near a six-year trough amid growing evidence of a slowdown in top user China that has also kept other base metals close to multi-year lows.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange hit a session low of $4,922 a tonne, before steadying at $4,939 at 0737 GMT. It had fallen to $4,885 overnight, its lowest since August.

The metal has been declining in recent sessions despite supply cuts and appears to be closing in on this year’s bottom of $4,855 reached in August, its weakest since July 2009.

The most-traded January copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange closed down slightly at 37,310 yuan ($5,861.01) a tonne.

Goldman Sachs analysts said, “2015 has seen slow rates of copper mine supply growth on supply disruptions and price-related closures and refurbishments”.

Price declines despite the lack of supply growth “speaks to the ongoing demand weakness and deflationary cost environment which has driven the market into surplus and reduced cost support,” they said in a note.

Earlier this month, mining and trading company Glencore said it expected to cut 455,000 tonnes of copper output by the end of 2017. In September, it suspended copper output at two mines in Africa, removing 400,000 tonnes of cathode from the market.

The supply cuts have failed to alleviate demand concerns in China.

There was fresh evidence of weakness in China’s economy after data on Wednesday showed the country’s factory output growth cooled to a seven-month low of 5.6 percent in October, while investment expansion slipped to its weakest pace since 2000.

More disappointing data from China could push copper prices even lower, Goldman said.

Other metals also took a hit from Chinese data this week.

LME zinc rose 0.8 percent $1,635 a tonne after falling to as low as $1,553.50 overnight, its cheapest since July 2009. Lead also gained to $1,632.50 per tonne, having touched a five-year low of $1,582 on Wednesday.

Trade volumes on the London Metal Exchange fell 3 percent in the first nine months of 2015 compared to the same period last year due to a slowdown in global growth and weak commodity prices.

PRICES

Three month LME copper

Most active ShFE copper

Three month LME aluminium

Most active ShFE aluminium

Three month LME zinc

Most active ShFE zinc

Three month LME lead

Most active ShFE lead

Three month LME nickel

Most active ShFE nickel

Three month LME tin

Most active ShFE tin ($1 = 6.3658 Chinese yuan renminbi) (Reporting by A. Ananthalakshmi in Singapore and Manolo Serapio Jr. in Manila; Editing by Joseph Radford and Gopakumar Warrier)

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